Harvard Health Letter

How to avoid "holiday heart syndrome" this season

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Holiday heart syndrome can affect even people who drink infrequently.

Too much alcohol, salt, and caffeine may lead to a temporary irregular heartbeat.

When celebrating with family and friends at this time of year, you may not think twice about having an extra glass of wine or adding a little more to your plate. But a little overindulgence could result in an abnormal heartbeat (arrhythmia). The condition is known as holiday heart syndrome. "People are often surprised or frightened when they develop a fast, irregular heartbeat, seemingly out of the blue," says Dr. Deepak Bhatt, a Harvard Medical School professor and editor in chief of the Harvard Heart Letter.

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